Alison Smith joined the ECI in February 2014. She is interested in using interdisciplinary research to find and promote solutions that tackle multiple environmental, economic and social problems. Her current work focuses mainly on ecosystem services, green infrastructure, and the multiple benefits of climate adaptation and mitigation actions.
Alison works on the European Commission's OPENNESS project, which aims to help policy makers incorporate the value of ecosystem services into their decision-making. As part of her work she conducted an extensive literature review of the links between natural capital and ecosystem services. She has also been working with stakeholders in Essex and Warwickshire to explore methods for mapping ecosystem services, including hard-to-measure cultural services such as aesthetic value, recreation and a 'sense of place'.
She also works on the European Commission's IMPRESSIONS project, which helps policy-makers to explore the implications of climate change scenarios involving temperature increases of over 4oC. As part of this work she will be exploring integrated pathways for climate mitigation and adaptation. She is also on the organising committee of the European Conference on Climate Change to be held in Glasgow in 2017.
Alison also works on a NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation project, Tools for planning and assessing green infrastructure: Bicester and beyond. Connected to this work, she has recently been awarded a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship to work part time with the Ecosystems Knowledge Network to develop their Tool Assessor service, which synthesises knowledge on analytical tools for assessing ecosystem services.
Prior to joining the ECI, Alison worked for 15 years as a senior environmental consultant, specializing in climate change, transport, energy and waste management policy. She then became a freelance consultant and writer, and is author of The Climate Bonus: co-benefits of climate policy. This book explores the additional benefits that society can gain through tackling climate change, including cleaner air, forest protection, a more resource-efficient economy and healthier lifestyles. She has assessed the co-benefits of climate action for the UK Committee on Climate Change, and recently conducted a scoping study for DECC on future research needs, working with Aether consultants.